People like to say things, because it sounds good, without really thinking about it. A lot of Knicks fans keep saying that we need to step up our defense. I mean, that’s of course an obvious point. But without Shump and Chandler not 100%, I think the defense is what it is. I actually don’t think the defense was particularly terrible. It’s just Miami’s offense was incredible in game 2. They passed the ball side to side and in and out, making it very difficult to defend. I think even Miami’s defense would have trouble defending their offense in game 2. So I don’t really blame Knicks defense for losing game 2. It sounds good to say that we needed to step up our defense, but that’s speaking in a vacuum. I like to talk about things as they are. The reality was that Chandler wasn’t 100% in game two and we were missing our best on-ball defender in Shump. Amare is also terrible on defense and that’s known. Can’t really change that. So I think the defense that we got from the Knicks in game 2 is to be expected. It is what it is. So can’t really criticize it.
What we can criticize and what is simple to solve is the poor spacing and terrible ball movement. Knicks players were all bunched together to one side and there would only be one pass before a shot is made. It makes it very difficult to move the ball if all your players are bunched together. This is an easy thing to solve. Sure, Miami is a great defensive team, but I think any old team could have clamped down on our stagnant offense in Game 2. It’s not hard, because you know exactly where the ball is going and guys are just standing around. I hope Knicks look at the tape and see what Miami did on offense. They had great spacing and moved the ball side to side and in and out before a shot is taken. They also moved well without the ball, cutting to the basket, getting open shots, etc. I don’t care how good of a defensive team you are, it makes it very difficult to defend if the ball is zipping around the court like a pin ball and guys are moving all over the place. It’s hard to stay on your man when you’re reacting to the ball movement. That’s what the Knicks need to do against Miami. Without Amare in Game 3, I think the spacing will be better so I’m optimistic.
But Knicks have terrible luck in the playoffs. Going into the playoffs, the Knicks had so much chemistry, but whatever chemistry we have left was shattered by Stat’s irresponsible act of frustration. Knicks should have tried something different in the last game and have Stat come off the bench, like I suggested. This way, Amare would get the touches he deserves. Stat should have swallowed his pride and just volunteered to come off the bench when he came back from his injury for the remainder of the season/playoffs (and wait next season to make it work with him and Melo on the court at the same time). Without Jeremy Lin (or a good point guard), Stat and Melo can’t exist, because there’s no one to give Stat the ball where he likes it. Stat should have known this. I think the coaching staff knew this, but didn’t want to have to deal with the politics of bringing Stat off the bench. Stat and Melo only work together when Jeremy Lin is on the court. If Stat came off the bench, he would have been able to dominate Miami’s second unit and give us an advantage. Everyone would be happy and he wouldn’t have ended up punching the glass casing of a fire extinguisher. Was his pride worth that?
Now he’s brought the whole team down with this one impulsive act. Things always end up getting worse for the Knicks. On Saturday, getting blown out wasn’t the worst thing, Shump going down was. And yesterday, losing game 2 isn’t the worst thing, Stat shattering the team chemistry is.